Simple as Pi

Businesses adopt Citrix’s low cost desktop alternative

By Chris Fleck

Citrix’s HDX Ready Pi is about to disrupt the desktop PC industry as a low-cost, high-performance end-user computing device like no other. When coupled with a virtual desktop, this sub $89 device provides an ideal alternative to the traditional desktop PC refresh cycle for IT.

The breakthrough price point was achieved by leveraging the Raspberry Pi platform, which has driven the hardware cost to a minimum with innovative design, high volumes and automated assembly. The high performance was achieved by using the Citrix HDX system-on-chip (SoC) architecture to leverage client hardware for protocol decoding.

These devices are available fully assembled and ready to order from ViewSonic and Micro Center; they are pre-loaded with all necessary software, come with a production case, flash storage, a power supply and a VESA mount option; and they are ready to deploy in a matter of seconds by any IT admin.

In classic disruptive fashion, the Raspberry Pi has already taken a significant share of the education PC market with over 8 million devices shipped. With the Citrix-optimized HDX Ready Pi, many other industries are likely to adopt the platform, now that the “do it yourself” barrier is demolished. This device does not take the place of a mobile laptop or a high-function thin client, but for the hundreds of millions of desktop PCs, the HDX Ready Pi with a XenApp back end is worth evaluating for its compelling price and performance before a standard PC refresh.

This device represents more than just a fast, cheap PC alternative. Rather, its low cost enables new business paradigms. For example:

  • The full stack cost of virtual desktops can now be justified based on total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits, not paying a premium for security, and the management benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). This expands the number of users that can benefit from VDI from a subset to an entire organization.
  • The Citrix HDX Ready Pi can be distributed via the mail, IT vending machines or stored in office supply cabinets. Employees can get an HDX Ready Pi and simply plug into an available display and be up and running in minutes. Onboarding a new employee no longer means ordering a new PC, waiting a week, imaging the PC, installing the apps, and so on.
  • It eliminates deskside support. The low cost makes it a rip-and-replace device that has no mechanical hard drive to fail, no local data and no time wasted diagnosing device problems. If there is ever an issue, swap the device and drop it into a recycling bin.
  • It eliminates financial asset tracking. The low cost can be considered a non-capitalized office expense for many organizations, thereby eliminating the overhead of asset tracking. The HDX Ready Pi is especially compelling to virtualize remote branch offices globally.
  • It provides a take-home device for employee remote access. With no ability to save or cache corporate data, the HDX Ready Pi can be safely distributed to employees for teleworking or to occasionally work from home.
  • It allows for pervasive computing devices in public spaces or an office campus. The HDX-Ready Pi has a Kensington lock slot, but is so low cost and purpose-built for Citrix that the physical security is a nonissue.

The timing for this device is very good because most organizations are planning Windows 10 migrations. Citrix has optimized Receiver on the HDX Ready Pi and XenApp/XenDesktop to provide a true PC-like experience, and Raspberry Pi has achieved a breakthrough in hardware price/performance. We have many early adopter customers already piloting or using the Raspberry Pi with Citrix. What was missing was a full-stack solution, reloaded and supported, and ready for IT. But now the HDX Ready Pi has all that and more. 

Chris Fleck is on the board of the South Florida Technology Alliance and vice president of emerging solutions for Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS), a Fort Lauderdale company that provides secure delivery of applications and data. 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.